Contributed by Henry O.

I have worked in some toxic work places – where whole groups of people disappeared in surprise lay-offs; where one person created animosity by making up stories about coworkers; where bosses micro-managed you to the point of telling you where to put your pen on your desk. Going to work each day in environments like these can be very draining. While leaving the job or the environment might be the first impulse, there are often times when this is not feasible. So, how can you make the best of a difficult situation at work?

Here are some ideas that changed things around for me and might make the difference for you too.

Get a life.  Going home after work and sitting in front of the TV will not help you, it will leave you more stressed and depressed.  Instead, make plans for after work—fun plans, plans that feed your soul.  If you like to sing or dance, consider karaoke or going to a club; if you enjoy art, visit a museum; if you are interested in writing, enroll in a class. Whatever it is, having something to look forward to at the end of your workday will replenish your soul.

Change your attitude. Even if you feel like you are faking it at the beginning, you will be surprised how being, even a little more, positive will change your disposition. And, your new attitude might even make others around you more positive.

Set goals each day. It is easy to become upset and distracted in a toxic environment.  Your work will suffer and then your work life will become more miserable. In order to avoid this, make a list of what you have to do each day; all of it – the emails, the calls, your tasks.  Crossing things off your list will keep you focused and make you feel accomplished at the end of the day.

Get support.  Don’t talk about work at work, someone may overhear or the person you are complaining to might start to blame you for the toxicity.  Instead, talk to friends and family. Keep it goal and solution-oriented though. Do not just be a chronic complainer or you might end up spreading the toxicity to your friends and nobody wants that!

Do you have any tips to help others handle toxic work environments?